Ighalo responds to social media trolls
There have been a variety of different reactions to Nigeria’s exit from the World Cup, with some fans heaping praise on the squad whereas others feel as if they could’ve done more. There are, naturally, levels to what fans are able to consume and levels to what they’re able to take – and unfortunately, Odion Ighalo has been at the forefront of some horrendous backlash in the wake of the defeat against Argentina. The forward has suffered a parade of abuse on social media, with some supposed ‘fans’ even going so far as to issue death threats not only to him directly, but also to his extended family.
Ighalo, 29, has been a member of the Super Eagles’ senior squad since 2015 now. He played a role in helping Nigeria get to Russia in the first place, and while he hasn’t been viewed as a first choice striker for quite some time, he’s still an effective tool for Nigeria to have in their locker. Ighalo has been playing his domestic football in China as of late, becoming a fan favourite at Changchun Yatai courtesy of his goals to games ratio. Prior to that, he was with Watford for three years in the Premier League, and while he started his time at Vicarage Road in a positive manner, his form dropped towards the end of his tenure.
In terms of the issue at hand, the threats directed towards Ighalo are a direct response to some of the chances that he missed in the aforementioned game against Argentina. Odion came on during the second half and had a golden opportunity to improve Nigeria’s odds of progressing, but couldn’t quite finish it off. The general belief is that if he’d have scored then they’d be preparing for a knockout game against France right now, but as is so often the case in football, the numerous variables and ‘what ifs’ are often enough to drive any given fanbase insane. Ighalo issued an apology on his social media account, stating that sometimes things don’t go the way that you want them to. He also reminded the trolls that he is someone else’s child and that these threats don’t only impact him but also those around him.
Nigeria will now prepare to head home and dust themselves off in preparation for their African Cup of Nations qualification game which will be against Seychelles on September 7th. Before then, however, the majority of their players will return to domestic action.